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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev - Which Indian Wells underperformer will change their fortunes this year?

Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil <a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/player/daniil-medvedev' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Medvedev</a> with Rafael Nadal (R)
Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev with Rafael Nadal (R)
Rohit R
ANALYST

Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top three seeds at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The event is set to take place this week for the first time since March 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic having forced a cancelation of the 2020 edition.

But the top three seeds haven't quite produced their best at Indian Wells over the years, to put it mildly.

Medvedev, the top seed this year, has amassed the most wins on hardcourts since 2018. He has been especially impressive in the hardcourt Slams, winning his first Major at the 2021 US Open and making an additional two finals at that level.

Most Hard-Court Wins since 2018@DaniilMedwed 147@DjokerNole 115@AlexZverev 113@StefTsitsipas 111@AndreyRublev97 108Most Hard-Court Titles since 2018Daniil Medvedev 12Novak Djokovic 10Alexander Zverev 7Andrey Rublev 6@RogerFederer 6

The Russian has also won four of the last six hardcourt Masters 1000 tournaments, and made the quarterfinals of the Miami Open. However, his record at the Indian Wells Masters is rather disappointing; Medvedev has just three wins at the tournament from three attempts.

Daniil Medvedev won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open this year.
Daniil Medvedev won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open this year.

Daniil Medvedev has never progressed beyond the third round here, let alone making the semis or finals. But having won his maiden Grand Slam title just a few weeks ago, Medvedev enters the tournament high on confidence.

As per the draw, the 25-year-old is slated to face his Wimbledon conqueror Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals and good friend Andrey Rublev in the semis. Medvedev's good form means he is being touted as one of the favorites for the Indian Wells title despite his poor record there, and his draw makes his path look fairly manageable.

Stefanos Tsitsipas aims to make his first final since Roland Garros

Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 Australian Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the second seed at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open, has been one of the most consistent players on tour this year. With a consistent 51-15 record for 2021 so far, Tsitsipas leads the tour in matches won.

The Greek is equally adept on clay and hardcourts, but his past performance at Indian Wells is a bit of a blemish on his rather stellar CV. Tsitsipas has reached at least the quarterfinals of all other Masters 1000 events on the calendar, but his record in the desert is an underwhelming 1-2.

The 23-year-old, in fact, hasn't progressed beyond the second round in his previous two attempts. The last time he played there, he lost in very tame fashion to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Tsitsipas' third-round loss at the 2021 US Open is his earliest exit at a hardcourt event this year. At the BNP Paribas Open, he could meet Auger-Aliassime again - this time in the quarterfinals - followed by a possible meeting with Alexander Zverev in the semis.

The Greek is in the middle of the best season of his career, and so many are expecting him to better his Indian Wells record over the next couple of weeks.

Alexander Zverev at the 2021 US Open.
Alexander Zverev at the 2021 US Open.

Alexander Zverev, who has also been one of the best players on the tour this year, has performed slightly better at the Indian Wells Masters compared to the other two. His best showing has been a fourth-round finish, which came in his debut appearance at the tournament back in 2016.

But Zverev's career record at the event is still fairly poor; he has just five wins in four appearances.

The German has won two of the six hardcourt Masters 1000 events on the calendar, and reached at least the final at three others. Zverev has also made two semifinals at the Australian Open in the past.

In other words, the Indian Wells Masters is the 24-year-old's worst performing big hardcourt event. Needless to say, he'll be eager to change that stat.

Zverev has been given a rather tricky draw this year though. He might face Jenson Brooksy in the second round, Carlos Alcaraz or Andy Murray in the third, and possibly Matteo Berrettini or Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals. If he gets past that line of dangerous opponents to meet Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis, he will be very confident of going all the way.

The 2021 BNP Paribas Open is being held in October instead of its usual March slot. That could provide an additional challenge for the players, as they'll be playing under different conditions than what they're used to.

The bottomline is that Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have all been in great form throughout the year. The three of them have taken their careers to the next level in 2021, and will be keen to punctuate that by correcting their dismal record at Indian Wells.


Edited by Musab Abid

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